Without Wonder (Thoroughbred Series #36)

( 40 )

Overview

Is history repeating itself?

Christina Reese has heard the story many times?Wonder was a tiny, sickly foal no one thought was worth saving. No one but Christina's mother, Ashleigh. With Ashleigh's love and hard work, Wonder went on the win the Kentucky Derby.

Now, when Wonder's last foal is born under tragic circumstances, there's little hope for her baby colt. Only Christina can see that the colt is special, ...

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Overview

Is history repeating itself?

Christina Reese has heard the story many times—Wonder was a tiny, sickly foal no one thought was worth saving. No one but Christina's mother, Ashleigh. With Ashleigh's love and hard work, Wonder went on the win the Kentucky Derby.

Now, when Wonder's last foal is born under tragic circumstances, there's little hope for her baby colt. Only Christina can see that the colt is special, just like his mother was. But will she get a chance to prove it?

Read the Wonder's Legacy trilogy from Thoroughbred and experience the powerful bond between a determined girl and a very special colt. If you love horses, then you'll love these books!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061066078
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Series: Thoroughbred Series , #36
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Ready, girl?" Christina Reese asked her gray Thoroughbred mare, Sterling Dream. She unhooked Sterling from the crossties and led her down the long aisle of Whitebrook Farm's broodmare barn. The mares munched their morning hay, watching quietly as they passed by.

Outside, Sterling stepped gingerly over the snow-covered ground, until Christina tugged her to a halt so that she could tighten the girth and mount up. The leather saddle felt cold as ice through Christina's thin dressage breeches. It had been so frigid recently, it was hard to believe it was February and spring was actually on its way.

"Whoa," Christina murmured as she gathered up her reins and adjusted the navy blue wool cooler that covered Sterling's dappled hindquarters. She pulled the cooler over her legs, tucking it between her knees and the saddle. That way, neither she nor her horse would get a chill on the twenty-minute hack over to Whisperwood, the farm run by Christina's riding instructor, Samantha Nelson, and her husband, Tor.

Despite the wool cooler, Christina shivered with excitement. This weekend Whisperwood was hosting a two—day dressage clinic taught by Lars Stockholm, her three-day eventing idol. She'd been looking forward to the clinic for months and was secretly hoping that Lars would ask her to train with him down in Florida the next winter. Lars Stockholm had started the Young Riders—a special program for young three-day event riders who hoped to compete internationally. Getting onto a Young Riders team and going to the North American championships was a big step toward becoming an Olympic rider—Christina's ultimate aim. The YoungRiders had to be at least sixteen, so she had only one more year to go. Actually, Christina had only just turned fourteen on Christmas day, but in the eyes of the United States Combined Training Association—the USCTA—she was considered to be fifteen as of January 1. It was the same way with racehorses. Each Thoroughbred officially turned one year old the January 1 after it was born, no matter what month it had really been born in.

Christina nudged Sterling forward, down the wide tractor road between the two back pastures. The mare responded willingly, her head cocked and her ears pricked toward the big oval training track down the hill to their left. Though it was early morning, everyone at Whitebrook Farm, the Thoroughbred breeding and training farm owned by Christina's parents, Ashleigh Griffen and Mike Reese, was already hard at work. She could just make out the chestnut filly, Missy, jogging around the far turn, with Christina's cousin, Melanie Graham, aboard. Suddenly Missy came to a complete standstill, throwing Melanie up onto her shoulders. Christina chuckled. Missy's full name, Mischief Maker, was entirely appropriate for her, and her cousin had her work cut out for her—the two-year-old was a handful. Christina had broken Missy to a halter and lead line, and she had almost lost her patience more than once. But Melanie seemed to have a knack with problem horses, so when Missy was ready to begin her race training, Ashleigh and Mike had assigned Melanie to exercise-ride her.

"Don't watch, Chris. It might give Sterling ideas."

Christina turned at the sound of her mother's voice. Ashleigh was riding her favorite mare, Ashleigh's Wonder, bareback, just inside the snow-dusted pasture. She looked like a little kid with her blue-jeaned legs dangling around Wonder's bulging sides and her long brown hair tucked into her old jockey's cap. Wonder seemed happy, too, with her head up and her ears pointed eagerly forward. Her blaze and four white stockings were striking against her coppery chestnut coat, which gleamed from over twenty years of special attention and warm Kentucky sunshine. If Christina focused on the mare's finely chiseled head and elegant neck, she could almost see the younger Wonder, the racehorse that stood proudly in the winner's circle with Ashleigh in so many of the framed photographs scattered around their house. But when she looked at the broodmare's back, swayed from years of carrying foals, Christina found it difficult to believe that Wonder had once been the proud winner of the Kentucky Derby.

"She looked so bored in her stall that I decided to take her on a little hack," Ashleigh explained as Christina walked Sterling over to the pasture fence. "I know what it's like to be pregnant—-you feel fat and lonely. I don't want her to get depressed."

Christina laughed. "Wonder can't be lonely, Mom. You practically live in her stall."

In fact, Ashleigh had been by Wonder's side ever since the mare was born at Townsend Acres, the huge Thoroughbred farm where Christina's grandparents had once worked. At birth Wonder had been sick and weak. If Ashleigh hadn't looked after her until she was strong, Wonder would have died. Then, when no one thought Wonder would ever even race, let alone win, Ashleigh stood by her, eventually becoming a jockey and riding her to victory herself.

"I don't make very good company, though," Ashleigh said. "Wonder's happiest when she has a foal at her side. I just wish this foal would hurry up and get here."

"Only a few more weeks," Christina said. Wonder

had been bred first, so her foal would be the first of the season.

"I can't wait." Ashleigh smiled and ruffled Wonder's coppery mane fondly. "Have a nice ride!" she added before squeezing her legs gently to urge Wonder on. Christina watched her mother ride away, trailing her fingers along the chestnut's hindquarters in a familiar caress. Obviously Ashleigh had forgotten all about Christina's clinic with Lars Stockholm. But Christina didn't mind—she was used to her mother's absentmindedness.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

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(24)

4 Star

(8)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    Wonder dies?!?!?! i can't believe it, the auther makes to many horses and characters die! I love the books, but she isn't doing the eries justice, by making so many die, and so many traggic things happen!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    What a travesty

    I think this book is plain awful. Why? Not because Wonder dies, even though that is sad, but for the fact that the author pays no attention to the characters. It was the author's responsibilty to get to know them when she took over the series, which she obviously did not. Not only would Ashleigh never, ever do that to one of Wonder's foals, especially remembering what happened wheb Wonder was young, but she wasn't even going to breed Wonder again. And Christina! She chose to give up her Wonder baby for Sterling, she can't just flip-flop back over like that never happened. The writer is not true to the characters, molding them to suite her needs and dreams instead of doing the series justice. I'm so disillusioned with this book, that I have stopped reading the series. I grew up on these books, but I have been betrayed as a reader by a selfish author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2006

    Without Wonder

    This book was awesome! I do wish that the author put more feeling into it when Wonder died though. If I were Ashleigh, I don't really think I could look at Star either. Anyway, one thing I do like in this book wathat Christina was showing some signs of getting into racing. Just like when they went to Missy's first race? It goes: On the backstretch the three lead horses began to spread out, with Julius in the lead and Switchback and Ten For Tenclose behind. Missy drifted back torward the inside railbut kept her spot in the middle of the pack. Christina kept expecting Naomi to push her on and close the distance around the second turn, but the chesnut just followed on behind as though she were in a checkout line, politely waiting her turn. Chrsitina squeezed her hands into tight fists around imaginary reins. She couldnt help it- she wanted to be out there riding,too! So that is one of the reasons why I like this book so much. But it has many other things I like to see in a book. This is definetly one of my favorite Thoroughbred books so far( out of the ones I have read). HAPPY TRAILS!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2006

    Without Wonder (Thoroughbred Series #36)

    This book was great. It made me cry so many times. Especially when Christina went out to visit Wonders grave. I do think though, that Christina could think about Star a little less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2006

    Without Wonder (Thoroughbred Series #36)

    Wonder was my favorite horse and I didnt want her to die, but it was for the best

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2004

    to thoroughbred fanatic

    You know i really think you're right about ashleigh's attitude toward Star, but look at it this way: Ashleigh had had wonder since she was 12, and wonder was one of her best friends. So you see, now you might be able to understand about her and Star. Remember how she felt when she was looking through wonder's pictures? And to Ashleighs Wonder, good-bye! We'll miss you forever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2003

    Wonder!

    This book was good but why did the new authors make Wonder die?She was one of the main horses in the first few books until the 5th,then everybody forgot about her!The authors are really spoiling the whole series! And then after she dies,the next couple of books barely mention her!I mean,I LOVED her! Good book anyway. Bye Bye Wonder!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2003

    sad....

    wow...this series was the first horse books i ever read (except black beauty). i cant believe Wonder died. now I feel old!! i dont really like this series as much as i used to. 1-15 were awesome. anyway, a pretty good book, just so sad. Also: what happens to Glory????

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2003

    Great!!!;--)

    i've read thoroughbred books #1-59 this is one of my favorites it made me cry it is soooooo sad you've got to read it!but if you want it seem good you've got to read the first ones before it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2003

    Sad. :..(

    This book was so sad..It only took me 2hrs to read it because I didn't want to put it down..You never knew what was going to happen next. It was sad when Wonder died and when Brad took Star away from whitebrook and most of all from Christina. I thought that this book was really great..But really sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2003

    VERY SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    this book was really sad i cryed 3 times it was soooo soooo sad. it would have been bette rif it was from asleighs popint of veiw because she was so attachad to wonder and christina did not even care about wonder and then asheigh could have been nicer to christina but if it was fvrom ashleighs point ofveiw then we would have known why. Nana was bad and they should have given he rback because she was teaching sta rbad thigs!! g2g love, me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2003

    No More Wonder?

    I was so upset when they did away with wonder in this book. I know she was old, and had to die sometime, but I didn't really want it to happen. And I also can't believe Ashleigh didn't want anything to do with Star. She should have cherished what was still left of her beloved mare instead of giving it away... We'll miss you, Wonder!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2003

    Really SAD!

    I didn't like this book too much. Ash turned into a mean mom, she scared me too! I think this book would have been better if they told it from Ashleigh's point of view.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2003

    This is the best!

    This book is the best book i have ever read! I like sad books, and this one was soooo perfect! The only thing i thought was bad, was that ashleigh was so mean to Chris! I mean- I would be sad too if my horse just died, but i wouldnt be mean to my daughter. Also, ashleigh does somthing that is horrible! Read to find out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2002

    Pity

    This book was so sad. It touched me deeply. I am thirteen and have been reading these books since the beginning of fifth grade. I feel deeply for Ashleigh, I know how she must of felt. I, too have just lost, not only a horse but my best friend. I, of course began to cry while reading this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2002

    Not Enough Emotion

    I mean I knew that Wonder had to die and its sad that she did and I expected to cry I mean Wonder is all our favorite mare, right? But this author did a horrible job off killing her. I didn't feel any pain for her because it was from Christinas point of veiw and Christina was only worried about stupid Star. It should have been from Ashleighs point of veiw I mean if Wonder had to die they could at least show someones pain for her. I hated this book but, I still love the TB series. I mean listen to the way they kill Wonder-'Ashleigh's head was presssed against Wonder's, the mare ears flickered as Ashleigh began to cry. The vet pulled the cap off the syringe, and Christina looked away. She stared down at the strands of straw that clung to the colt's furry back and hugged him more closely. The colt shook his dainty head and nickered softly to his mother. But there was no answer. Ashleigh let out a chocking,mournful sob, and Christina looked up. Wonders body was still. She was gone.' I mean picture how much sadder that would have been if it told how Ashleigh felt instead of Christina.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2002

    what about the past?

    okay really i know that stardust is gone and everything but HELLO ASH don't you EVER think about stardust anymore.i mean you don't even say ONE WORD about the horse.i know wonder dies in this book.i cried and cried.but ash it is like you don't even know who stardust is.e-mail me if you think the same.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2002

    Extreamly Sad!!!

    ok. this book was not my favorite because Wonder dies and Ashliegh does not like the premature colt,Star. Since Star is Wonder's baby you would think that she would have some sympothy for him and not to totally dispise him. I mean he is the last baby out of Wonder and he has a tough time as it is without a mother. Then At the very end she wants to send him to Townsead Acers of all places! She hates Brad so why would she send him there? Anyway the last paragraph is the part that made me cry. I think the author should have ended the story on a easier note. If you love this series and also love riding and horses, e-mail me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2002

    i Haven't read it

    alright i haven't read it but u all say ashleigh is mean and such. i can c your point but also if u think about it u can understand. i mean star was kinda like wonder and ashleigh took care of wonder. but when star came and wonder died it probaly brought memorys back of wonder and made her sad and when u r sad u seem to always take it out on someone. i don't disagree. but i can also c it in ashleighs point

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    soooo sad

    oh my gosh this book was so sad me & my friends cryed we dednt like the way ashleigh tured so mean how could she send star away? wonder died for no reason then if she was just going to send him away i was sooo sad e-mail me to talk about the books

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